LBYB is All the Rage in 2010

Listen Before You Buy (LBYB I’ll call it here) appears to be a promotional tool that is working in 2010. Call me a cynic and maybe it can be attributed to the economic times that we’re in, when no one has money to be buying shitty albums with only one catchy song, but I have seen more opportunities so far this year to preview music (an entire album specifically) than I have in recent years.

It’s the old question that haunts many: is the Internet taking over the way music is bought, sold, listened to and accessed? Probably, but by the same token, vinyl has seen one it’s biggest comebacks since it’s fade out in the 80s. Apparently, the recent Record Store Day totals that were reported showed that there was tremendous hikes in vinyl sales.

National Public Radio (NPR) has been a huge friend to musicians and labels as I can see it. Just in the last six weeks alone, NPR made the following forthcoming albums available to stream through for a limited time:

David Byrne & Fatboy Slim “Here Lies Love”
Jonsi “Go”
The Hold Steady “Heaven Is Whenever”
Broken Social Scene “Forgiveness Rock Record”
LCD Soundsystem “This Is Happening”
The Fall “Your Future Our Clutter”
Josh Ritter “So Runs the World Away”
New Pornographers “Together”

Of these, five are now albums which I have bought or plan to buy on their release date. It’s amazing what a little taste can do to a junkie such as myself. The beauty that I see in this method of “dangerous” marketing is that you have to be a strong artist these days. No more one-hit wonder bullshit. An LP needs to flow, be varied but contained, concise but epic. When you’re sitting at work all day and have time to stream this stuff and get into it some, you’re going to want it once it’s gone.

It’s easy to get online now and download one or two tracks from a new album, but to get a listen of the whole thing is the selling point. In the world of fickle music listeners, the remix is something you only seem to find online anymore as well. I personally used to love the days I could go into a major chain music store and sift through the massive singles rack. Now it’s all just M.I.A. and rap. Boring. Or, even worse, at a place like Best Buy you’re stuck having to did through the genre racks and look under a specific band to find if they have a single in stock.

But being able to find tons of remixes online at great sites like or other music blogs is the best someone like me can hope for anymore. Sometimes you get lucky, for instance The Big Pink just made a remix EP for their track “Tonight” available to download for free on their website. I truly hope this is trend that picks up and continues.

Jack White (as I’ve mentioned in other entries) is a man who know how to market himself just as well as he knows how to play music (dare I say even better?) I am a huge fan of his (Alison Mosshart’s) band Dead Weather and they are also making their latest album available online to listen to for a limited time. In true White style though, there’s a catch. The album started streaming today on their site at 1PM EST… as a live video feed of the actual record being played on an old-fashioned record player (one that has a Velvet Underground Warhol banana on it!!). It continues playing until 1PM tomorrow (Saturday 5/1) and apparently there will be “surprise guest DJs.”

Oh, and is if that wasn’t enough, you can also catch Dead Weather play the entire album live on Monday 5/3 at 6PM EST on their MySpace.

Yes, 2010 is shaping up quite nicely.

It Might Get Loud

It Might Get Loud only intermittently gets loud, but that’s ok. It’s not really about jamming out in your living room (although the part where Page starts tearing through “Ramble On” had me breaking out the air guitar), as much as it’s about discovering the beauty and individual artistry behind these two-and-a-half guitar legends. (Come on, you can’t convince me White is quite of legendary status yet; Edge is only approaching it.) At any rate, they all know how to shred, slide, strum and pick like anti-pop savants, and that is primarily what the doc reveals.

There’s not a whole lot of explanation into the how’s as much as there is into the why’s; each guy from a different background and different generation, and each with his own impossibly notorious signature sound. It’s hard to even begin to describe the sounds they each can produce in words here, but it’s more exciting to watch them describe the sounds of their favorite songs and/or guitarists. That’s really what the film is about: the makeup of each of these artists and an attempt to unveil what made them create the material they have.

It’s a fun film, but in some respects seems almost too self-congratulatory when there is nothing really gained by the short bursts of interaction in the film. I mean it doesn’t even feel like they really interact with each other – much less ask all the questions that you or I would no doubt have. In fact, the interaction of the three of them wants to be the best part of the picture but is for all intents and purposes edited out! A run through the deleted scenes on the DVD will give you a feel for all the material that was omitted. But even the scenes where they’re on their own reminiscing are in many respects lackluster and pointless. Bottom line here is, unless you’re a hardcore fan of guitar or any of these three musicians, there’s not a lot for you here. They’re awesome guitarists and genius musicians, and now I’ve saved you 97 minutes of your life.

New Dead Weather

The sophmore Dead Weather album Sea of Cowards is set to drop May 11 and below is the first video in promotion of the record. It’s not my favorite track so far, a little too overwrought and intentionally heavy. The video is directed by 90s grunge/goth video queen Floria Sigismondi who knows how to shoot film that feels like a fashion shoot and looks like the ninth circle of hell. (For a different route of Sigismondi filmmaking, do yourself a favor and check out The Runaways.)

It seems not only did Floria work up the visual video style for DW, but it appears she has gone all Anton Corbijn on us too and designed the artwork for this new album… at any rate, below is the cover art and a link to another new track which is pitch-perfect this time because it has a clearer structure, wailing snare and organ and it feels like it’s finally just Mosshart in the band and there’s not all this Jack White marketable coolness surrounding the track. Let’s hope there’s more like this to be had.

Click here for a listen to the other new track “Gasoline” (via Stereogum).

Jack White in 2009

It occurred to me the other day as I sat aimlessly pondering the state of rock music today, that Jack White is a force to be reckoned with. Maybe. Well, see, I started to recall all these things from this past year that I heard/read/saw White involved with. So, in boredom, I compiled a short list. Feel free to add bullets if I’ve left anything out. Chronological order too, nonetheless. Maybe.

  • Jack opens a record store for his Third Man Records label, in Nashville
  • Jack forms another band called Dead Weather (in which he takes a turn at the drums)
  • Dead Weather release a fantastic debut titled “Horehound”
  • Jack makes his attempt at bringing back vinyl (it was already back, though, sorry)
  • Jack starts up a record pressing plant at his Nashville store
  • Jack offers a subscription-only vinyl service to fans with lots of income
  • Jack uses his store to create “limited” edition vinyl pressings
  • One of these pressings is “tri-colored, jukebox-labeled vinyl designed and created by Jack White”
  • Dead Weather get a pretty awesome music video treatment from Jonathan Glazer
  • Jack opens fly-by-night Third Man Record stores in both NYC and London
  • Jack appears alongside two other infamous axe-slingers in the glorious rock-doc It Might Get Loud
  • Jack releases a Carl Sagan-YouTube mashup-hit “A Glorious Dawn” on his label (in vinyl, of course). You can watch the video for the track below:

I’m sure there’s more that belong in there, but a better question is what is he going to be up to in 2010? Well, the first tidbit came out just recently and that is the Under the Great White Northern Lights 2007 tour film which is being released on March 16th in a massive boxset containing the following:

  • A DVD of the film
  • A DVD of White Stripes 10th anniversary show (titled “The White Stripes Under Nova Scotian Lights”)
  • A 16-track White Stripes live album recorded during the Canadian shows on 180 gram vinyl
  • A 16-track White Stripes live album recorded during the Canadian shows on CD
  • A 7″ (featuring “Icky Thump” and “The Wheels on the Bus” recorded live)
  • A 208 page book featuring photos from the Canadian tour taken by Autumn de Wilde (with a foreword by Jim Jarmusch!)
  • A silk screen print exclusive to the set

It looks like this:

And sounds like this:,t=1,mt=video

Shirley Manson’s Running Cyberdyne

As if last season’s Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (try saying that title 3 times fast), wasn’t good enough during the drought in worthwhile prime time TV, next season it gets even better. Ms. Shirley Manson of 90s Garbage fame is set to play the role as the CEO of the fictitious robotics company Cyberdyne. If you never caught up with the series in its initial season, think Species only with more plot and less scantily clad Natasha.

That’s not all Manson has in store for us this fall, she also plans to release her solo debut. Just how solo it is actually remains to be seen, since reports are that some special guests include Billy Corgan, Beck, Jack White and, of course, Butch Vig is producing (ok, and it’s not a new Garbage album how?).

And, actually, while I’m arguing this unimportant question of the forthcoming album’s inauthentic soloness, here’s an interesting tidbit courtesy of Wikipedia:

Although [it’s being touted as] Manson’s first record as a solo recording musician, technically it is her second solo album; her pre-Garbage band Angelfish’s self-titled album was released under a solo contract to her record label Radioactive Records, signed in February 1993, prior to the label’s sale to Universal Music Group. Manson was signed as a solo artist fronting her former band Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie’s side-project group Angelfish to circumvent the former act’s existing deal with MCA Records. That contract obligated Manson to deliver at least one album and, at the sole option of Radioactive, up to six additional albums. It is expected that her album will be released through Radioactive or another Universal label such as Island Records, as Manson is still under contract to Radioactive to deliver a second album, despite the label having never demanded a second Angelfish album, their sole album Angelfish having sold only 10,000 copies. A July 2001 lawsuit between Universal Music Group and Garbage regarding Manson’s recording status was settled out of court, with Radioactive retaining exclusive worldwide rights to record and sell Manson’s performances. The agreement allowed Manson to continue to record with Garbage, but did not free her from her 1993 contract.

Manson has since stated that she is shelving the album for the time being as she is pursuing other projects (Terminator?), but us fans are not content with such unwarranted lethargy and one fan has even gone so far as to start a petition to Warner Music to release the new tracks. A little over 2400 have signed since april and you too can sign HERE!

Here’s the tentative track names as well to whet the appetite:

“Don’t Want Anyone Hurt”
“Don’t Want To Pretend”
“Gone Upside”
“Hot Shit”
“Kid Ourselves”
“Lighten Up”
“Little Dough”
“No Regrets”
“Pure Genius”
“So Shines A Good Deed”
“Sweet Old World”
“The Desert”
“To Be King”